Whether due to deliberate jumps or unfortunate trips, the showbiz world has lost a surprising amount of famous faces through fatal falls over the years. These 20 stars, for example, all met their maker in such tragic circumstances.
20. Charles McGraw
Charles McGraw is perhaps best known for his roles in TV spy series Adventures of the Falcon and historical epic Spartacus, and he was also a familiar face during the heyday of film noir in the ’50s. Tragically, though, he lost his life in 1980, when he severed an artery in his arm after slipping through a glass shower door at his California home.
19. Douglas Kenney
Douglas Kenney was the man behind one of American comedy’s greatest institutions, National Lampoon magazine, and would go on to co-write the hit comedy Animal House. His career was cruelly cut short, however, after he plunged 35 feet from a cliff known as the Hanapepe Lookout in Hawaii. His fall, which took place in 1980, was later ruled to have been an accident.
18. William Holden
William Holden was one of the most popular actors of his era, winning an Oscar and an Emmy for his performances in 1953’s Stalag 17 and 1973’s The Blue Knight, respectively. Sadly, though, he was found dead at his Santa Monica home in 1981, days after he’d drunkenly slipped on a rug and suffered a fatal wound to his forehead.
17. Chris Henry
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry lost his life in 2009 after falling from a moving pickup truck during an argument with his girlfriend. A year later, West Virginia University’s Brain Injury Research Institute reported that at the time of the incident Henry had been suffering from a brain disease caused by his NFL career.
16. Tony Scott
In 2012 film director Tony Scott leapt to his death from an LA suspension bridge “without hesitation,” according to an eye-witness. The man behind such films as Crimson Tide, Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II was secretly battling cancer at the time, his family have since revealed.
15. Donny Hathaway
Mystery continues to surround Donny Hathaway’s fatal fall from a 15th floor hotel room in 1979. According to authorities, the soul legend committed suicide. However, his close friends were left mystified as to why Hathaway, who was working on an album with Roberta Flack at the time, would have done so.
14. Kurt Vonnegut
Best known for classic work of satire Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut once admitted that an airplane crash at Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak would be his ideal way of meeting his maker. Instead, the acclaimed author passed away from brain injuries sustained in a fall at his Manhattan home in 2007.
13. Ann B. Davis
Ann B. Davis became one of America’s most famous sitcom actors in the ’70s while playing The Brady Bunch’s housekeeper Alice. In 2014, however, the actress would pass away; she had failed to regain consciousness from a fall in the bathtub at her home in San Antonio.
12. Dick Radatz
Nicknamed “The Monster” due to his imposing physique and fastball technique, baseball legend Dick Radatz died from a fall at his home in 2005. The former Boston Red Sox pitcher first suffered a heart attack before fatally tumbling down a flight of stairs.
11. Russ Swan
Just a year after Radatz’s passing, another former Major League Baseball star also suffered a fall down the stairs that proved to be fatal. Ex-pitcher Russ Swan, who played for the Seattle Mariners, the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians, was found unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell in Arizona and later died in hospital.
10. Max McGee
And Swan wasn’t the only mid-20th century sporting hero to lose his life in a fall in 2007. Former receiver Max McGee, who won the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1967, died after falling from the roof of his Deephaven home while clearing leaves from its eaves.
9. Sandy Denny
Hailed as the U.K.’s answer to Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny would no doubt have achieved even greater things had she not died tragically aged just 31. The folk singer-songwriter suffered a fatal head injury after tumbling down the stairs of her parents’ Cornwall home in 1978.
8. George D. Wallace
George D. Wallace, who was best known for playing Commando Cody in Radar Men from the Moon, died in 2005 following a fall during a trip to the Italian city of Pisa. The versatile actor, who also appeared on stage in several Broadway musicals, passed away in Los Angeles shortly afterwards due to complications arising from his injuries.
7. Cass Daley
’40s comic Cass Daley tragically died following a freak accident at her apartment in 1975; after she fell onto and shattered a glass on a table, a shard ended up being embedded in her neck. The singer and funnywoman had been preparing to launch a comeback at the time.
6. Maxee Maxwell
Maxee Maxwell, one third of ’90s R&B outfit Brownstone, also lost her life in similarly bizarre and tragic circumstances to Daley. The singer fell and slashed her throat on a drinking glass while home alone in Los Angeles in 2015. She later died of her injury after being rushed to a nearby hospital.
5. Owen Hart
One of the most infamous fatal falls of all occurred in 1999 when WWF wrestler Owen Hart plummeted to his death from 50 feet at a pay-per-view event. The Canadian, who went by the stage name Blue Blazer, was being slowly lowered into the ring on a wire. But the wire suddenly disconnected, causing him to fall and suffer a fatal head injury after landing in the ring.
4. DJ Mehdi
The dance music world lost one of its brightest talents in 2011 when producer DJ Mehdi fell to his death. The Frenchman was partying at a friend’s birthday bash in his Paris apartment when the loft’s glass veranda floor shattered unexpectedly, sending him hurtling to a tragic end.
3. Johnny Lewis
Sons of Anarchy actor Johnny Lewis’ passing remains one of the most disturbing Hollywood deaths of recent times. The troubled actor was ruled to have killed his 81-year-old landlady shortly before falling to his own death from the roof of her LA home in 2012.
2. Kyle Jean-Baptiste
The theatre community was left reeling in 2015 after losing one of its most promising young stars in horrifying circumstances. Kyle Jean-Baptiste, best-known for being the first African-American to take the lead part in Les Misérables, accidentally fell to his death from a fourth-floor fire escape at a New York apartment.
1. Elizabeth Hartman
Elizabeth Hartman was reported to have committed suicide after falling from a fifth-floor Pittsburgh apartment in 1987. Just prior to her death the actress, Oscar nominated during the ’60s for her performance in A Patch of Blue, had spoken with doctors about her problems with depression.